|February 3, 2010|
Volume 12, Issue 3
|Midwifery Today E-News|
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Midwifery Today Conferences
You'll find classes for seasoned midwives, childbirth educators, doulas and activists, and for those aspiring or just beginning in the birth field. Come to the conference to expand your knowledge and your network and to renew and rejuvenate your heart. Planned teachers include Ina May Gaskin, Marsden Wagner, Michel Odent and Elizabeth Davis.
Learn about birth from these great teachers when you attend our conference in Strasbourg, France, September 29 - October 3, 2010. Planned classes include Prolonged Pregnancy, Prolonged Labor, Managing Hemorrhage, Posterior Position and Preventing and Managing Birth Complications at Home.
We're teaming up with Domashniy Rebenok (Home Child magazine) for the “Birthing in Love: Everyone’s Right” conference this June in Moscow. You'll be able to learn from teachers such as Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Michel Odent, Katerina Perkhova, Gail Hart, Ina May Gaskin, Marina Dadasheva and Elizabeth Davis. This is a great opportunity to learn from Russian midwives and share our knowledge with them, so plan now to attend!
In This Week’s Issue:
Quote of the Week
"The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue."
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The Art of Midwifery
I have found a small $9 LED headlamp to be a wonderful addition to my bag of tricks for homebirths. It fits in your pocket, and is a wonderful way to be unobtrusive at the birth at night. The room can stay dark and intimate, but when you need to see something, you can turn on your small light and illuminate a small field of vision.
ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you've perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to: email@example.com.
Researchers working on two different studies say a mother's consumption of choline during pregnancy could help her child have a better memory and ward off breast cancer.
A new research study published in the January 2010 issue of the FASEB Journal shows that choline, a nutrient found in more than 400 different food sources, plays an important role in the development of a fetus' hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for storing memories.
Steven Zeisel, the senior scientist in the study, said the research "indicates that the diet of a pregnant mother, especially choline in that diet, can change the epigenetic switches that control brain development in the fetus."
Last year the FASEB Journal published the results of a Boston University study, which found that adequate choline consumption—450 mg per day during pregnancy—may decrease the risk of breast cancer in the woman's offspring.
Some examples of foods that are particularly high in choline include:
— Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Finally, an Excuse for Pregnant Women to Eat Bacon and Eggs." ScienceDaily 4 January 2010. 12 January 2010 (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100104101213.htm) Accessed 12 Jan 2010.
— Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Eating Eggs When Pregnant Affects Breast Cancer In Offspring." ScienceDaily 2 December 2008. 12 January 2010 (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081201144603.htm) Accessed 12 Jan 2010.
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I love apprentices and I cannot see a time when I will stop training them. I prefer the one-on-one training that comes from working with them from the beginning, as opposed to taking apprentices who have graduated from other schools. I feel that the training is much more personal and the apprentices understand right from the start just the kind of responsibility involved in this calling—that it is not a job, but a lifestyle. I have had some decide not to continue with the apprenticeship when they realize[d] the reality of the responsibility. It is a bit daunting and overwhelming at times, even to a gung-ho midwife like me.
My apprentices help me tremendously with my practice. The first aspect of midwifery that I teach them is postpartum care. I feel that postpartum is the most overlooked and under-attended phase of the childbearing period. I strive to create an atmosphere of celebration and honor for my postpartum moms. I ask that they stay in bed for the first 10 days so they can take advantage of the "baby moon" time and really get to know their new little one. Most of them can count on a family member to be with them and take care of the rest of the family and the chores; some dads take time off from work during that period. We see them every day for the first five days after the baby is born, and then at one week, two weeks, three weeks and six weeks. …
My apprentices don't start "catching babies" right away. Some clients are comfortable with them, and others are not. The best way for them to get to catch is to bring clients into the practice. This not only builds the practice, but also spreads the word about midwifery and alternative birthing options. I truly believe that the more midwives available, the more women will have a midwife. All of my apprentices have their own circle of influence and so help to enlighten the community a little more broadly than I would be able to do alone.
I believe in midwifery and in women. I believe that when each community abounds with truth and respect, women will be opened up to the prospect of changing the way that they bring their children into the world and the way that they are treated during this rich and empowering time of their lives. I believe that by teaching apprentices this way of caring for women, we can have a very powerful impact on our world. This is why I love apprentices.
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Web Site Update
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Question of the Week
Q: What is your best advice for aspiring midwives?
— Midwifery Today staff
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Think about It
I threw away the things I was trained to do. Midwives will have to unlearn so much, too. The RNs who are coming into the alternative network are unlearning their medicalization. I had to unlearn also, and go back to basics, go back to nature, and let this body, this woman, this pregnancy, grow on its own steam.
Remember, if you're getting your training among wolves, you're going to act like a wolf.
— Tom Brewer, MD
Dear Midwifery Today,
What do I say about the crisis in midwifery? The birth movement here began with a spiritual uplift—home waterbirth. It was escape from the prison-like Russian maternity hospitals (gross abuse of women, the separation of mothers and children, no breastfeeding, feeding only on the clock, etc.) Then we gave birth at homes prepared by the parents, doing gymnastics, swimming and working with birth parents who had already experienced several homebirths. It was an ideal, mind-body birth. And in the relationship between midwives and parents, no money was paid for homebirths.
After 30 years, much has changed. Homebirths have become a good business, because it is illegal midwives decide for themselves the price of a birth. But, on the other hand, parents get almost no information about the birth statistics of each midwife. At the same time, some of the midwives became more medicalized and homebirth is now prohibitively expensive—it's midwifery for the elite.
I have tried to encourage the legalization of and a return to the traditions of spiritual midwifery, in Ina May's style, where the main thing is mother and the baby and the midwife with her knowledge where a woman gives birth and a midwife respects the wisdom of nature.
This has made us very divided. We, the mothers and fathers, want peace between midwives and more public information. One of the goals of this conference is unity. (Editor's note: The Midwifery Today and Domashniy Rebenok [Home Child] magazine joint conference "Birthing in Love: Everyone's Right" will take place June 9–13, 2010 in Moscow, Russia. For more information about this conference, please visit www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/Russia2010/)
— Katerina Perkhova, editor-in-chief, Domashniy Rebenok (Home Child) magazine
What you describe seems to be a perpetual problem among midwives in every country. Disunity, infighting and overcharging are rampant. This is what my friend told me about homebirth here in the US: "It will never become the norm because it is cost-prohibitive for most families." And unity among midwives has been impossible to achieve here—one against the other—it is so sad. Still, we work for it at every conference we do, and in every magazine we print, because it is a worthy goal. Let's keep up the heart filled work and never, never, never give up. Our call is to love everyone because, "Love never fails."
— Jan Tritten, editor and mother of Midwifery Today
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